Any good composition courses (classical music)?


Senior Member
I have zero musical education - whatsoever.
I may have a good ear, but I do not know what or why I'm doing the harmonization the way I do. I just listen if it feels "right".
I think everyone here has given you good advice, even Leon Willet who is a top-notch orchestrator. It takes dedication and work, but if you love music, you'll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts. Working with a teacher is always best, but if that's not an option, you could learn on your own if you're diligent enough. A piano book to start with:

You can find the following series here (under pdf)

You can find other scores on IMSLP such as Bela Bartok's book for Children.,_Sz.42_(Bartók,_Béla)

On the internet, the course HeliaVox suggests above is top notch and free. And for additional knowledge and reading practice (check settings on the upper right).

Vaughan Williams has some simple piano and choral pieces too but this is not the place to start.
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Active Member
Someone should make a PianoRoll to Sheet score tutorial. I'm sure a lot of people on this forum including myself would benefit from such a tutorial.


Senior Member
It'll take you two weeks to learn to read music. Two weeks, tops. Two weeks from now, you can still be searching the internet for free videos from questionable sources, or you can be reading music.

If you want to write like Vaughan Williams, here's what you do:

Transcribe the pieces you like, then compare to the score. Note what you got wrong, listen again with the context of new (correct) information. Repeat.

... and that's it. No one will tell you a secret trick that he used. You can try and con your way around it, but why? I mean, why? Why would you want to go and waste years and years reinventing the wheel? It's already been done. Thousands of years ago. You want to build spaceships, that's cool. But learn to build a car first. And you don't have to reinvent it. The study material is all there for you to read.

Luckily for you, a LOT of RVW's music is available on All of the symphonies, all of his most popular pieces and concertos.

It's all right there for you. I can't explain how lucky we are to live in the age with resources like this available. It has never, in the history of man, been easier to study music than it is today. Free high quality scores that you can't ruin with coffee or ink. Free high quality recordings on Spotify and YouTube.

Free or rather cheap tools to convert your ideas into actual sound, right there for you to repeat as many times as you wish. This is by far the easiest and most effective way. Feed the data to your brain and let it do the crunching. It's all right there in the music and the sheets.

If you don't believe me, pick one piece or movement from RVW. Anything. Try to transcribe it. Actually you know what, for this first one, just copy it into Sibelius or Musescore (Musescore is free). Copy it from the PDF you get from IMSLP. You'll learn to read notation and learn a lot about RVW's writing, and composition and orchestration in general. More than you could learn if you watched all the YouTube videos on music theory (because with their view numbers, the world should be full of Mozarts, and it isn't because people don't want to put in the work). Copy every single note, even if it takes you two weeks. Then come back and tell me I'm full of shit. :grin: